Online Community and Marketplaces

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Key areas

5 things you need to know about Online Community and Marketplaces

  1. Online communities or marketplaces are popular businesses for entrepreneurs to set up. Successful marketplaces such as Airbnb and Odesk are bringing new ideas to market. Marketplaces involve complex legal relationships, so it is important that you have the right legal documents and legal structure in place.
  2. When running an online marketplace you enter into two legal relationships, one with buyers, and one with sellers on your site. It’s important to determine the third relationship, that between the buyers and sellers. You need to understand whether your business is acting as a go-between, or whether the buyers and sellers enter into a separate relationship between themselves. Your marketplace terms and conditions need to clearly set out all the relevant legal relationships.
  3. Online communities and marketplaces both deal with a considerable amount of intellectual property. Your terms and conditions need to address your content, any content from buyers and any content from sellers. Your buyers and sellers must agree to provide true and correct information, and to uphold their obligations. As an example, sellers must provide the article to the buyer, and buyers must pay the amount agreed in the timeframe agreed.
  4. Running an online community or marketplace will require you to capture a significant amount of personal information from your users. It’s important that you comply with the Privacy Act. In particular, make sure that your website has a compliant Privacy Policy.
  5. Finally, make sure that you provide visitors to your site with a set of website terms and conditions. These are separate to your marketplace/ community terms, and form the legal relationship between yourself and your visitors (as distinct from your users).
Our Online Community and Marketplaces Lawyers
Ursula Hogben Key Focus:

Commercial Law, Contract Law, Information Technology And Online Law, Intellectual Property, Capital Raising Law


Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Baker & McKenzie, Hogben Group

James Douglas Key Focus:

Business And Commercial, Contracts, Dispute Resolution And Litigation


Norton Rose, Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors, LOGOS Legal Services (London), DibbsBarker

See all of our Online Community and Marketplaces lawyers See our full range of specialist lawyers